Ex-Eagles Playoff Hero Leaving NFL to Pursue ‘My First Love’

Golden Tate Suspension

Getty Former Eagles receiver Golden Tate

Maybe the Philadelphia Eagles were using Golden Tate the wrong way, after all, during his 10-game stint in 2018. Turns out the one-time Pro Bowl receiver wanted to take the field in a different sport. And now Tate, 33, will finally get that opportunity.

Tate has signed a contract to play baseball for the Port Angeles (Washington) Lefties of the West Coast League, according to a press release. He suited up for the Lefties for the first time on June 14, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in a 5-2 win over the Bend (Oregon) Elks. In doing so, he became the first former NFL player to play in the West Coast League, according to the press release. Jake Locker and Jordan Poyer were players in the league before entering the NFL.

For Tate, it’s a chance to resume a once-promising baseball career. He was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks as an outfielder coming out of high school in 2007, then played the sport while attending the University of Notre Dame. Tate was also drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2010, the same year the Seattle Seahawks selected him with the 60th overall pick.

“I am extremely thankful,” Tate said, “to the West Coast League and the Port Angeles Lefties for allowing me to join their league. As some might know, I was drafted twice in baseball. As a child, my first love was baseball, so I’m excited about the opportunity to compete against some of the best young players in the league. I look forward to having a lot of fun and exploring baseball more.”

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Tate Makes Game-Winning Catch in 2018 Playoffs

Tate’s career in a midnight green uniform is mostly forgettable. He came over at the 2018 trade deadline and failed to earn any meaningful snaps until late in the season. However, the one-time Super Bowl champion did make arguably the catch of the postseason when he hauled in a two-yard touchdown from Nick Foles in a wild-card playoff win. The score put the Eagles up 16-15 and proved to be the game-winner.

And the magical play almost didn’t happen. Tate later admitted that he ran the wrong route and didn’t see Foles “alert it.” The veteran receiver diagnosed what was happening when he looked back and saw Foles rolling. Tate made the quick adjustment and caught the ball with 56 ticks left, then the famed “Double Doink” sealed the playoff win.

Doug Pederson Thankful for Tate’s Contributions

Tate finished with 30 catches for 278 yards and a touchdown in eight regular-season games in Philly, plus another seven receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown in the postseason. The Eagles surrendered a third-round pick for him at the deadline in 2018 in the hope he would be a dangerous weapon in the slot.

It never quite worked out that way, but former head coach Doug Pederson valued everything Tate brought to the team.

“I’ll tell you what, great player, great person, a great teammate,” Pederson told reporters in 2020. “Those are things that stood out to me and then just an opportunity for him, really for me to work with him. I think he’s a really good slot receiver. Move him around the formations. Do some different things with him.

“I can go back to that Bears playoff game and some of the tough catches he made in that game and of course the game-winning touchdown in that game to help us win a playoff game a couple years ago. It’s just something that, he came in, he helped us do what we needed to do and then moved on.”

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